Two Northumberland businessmen who are setting off on a 120 km walk along the Western Front to raise much needed funds for ex-servicemen have decided to continue their fund raising by starting their own charitable trust.
Andrew Charlton from Cramlington based web design company BACK Consulting and Bedlington creative photographer Paul Stephenson of The Beautiful Image are setting off on May 3rdto walk from Ypres to Albert tracing the steps and visiting many of the places occupied by the soldiers of the Tyneside Scottish as well as allied war memorials and key historical sites along the Somme Battlefield.
The pair have already raised around £5,000 for Veterans Retreat, a not for profit charitable organisation that provides permanent homes, rehabilitation, treatment and support to veterans across the UK. Now, the target is to raise a further £1,000 to complete a DVD which will be distributed to North East schools.
The walk founders and supporters have agreed to form a new charity based on “Walking the Front” where support will be provided at a micro level to veterans and their dependants in the North East region. Specifically, they will look to provide micro grants, micro loans or help to arrange sponsorship and work placements for veterans looking to get into enterprise in the region. Already, a plan is in place to carry out even more walks in the future.
Full details will be released after the walk is completed and supporters are urged to follow the pair’s progress on twitter @walkingthefront, send messages of support and to mention anyone they’re remembering who has served in any of the forces.
“We’re doing this for three reasons,” said Andrew. “Firstly to raise much needed funds for ex-servicemen and women , secondly to pass on our experiences to today’s school children so that they too can learn from the horror of the First World War and thirdly to thank my great-granddad and the thousands of other ordinary people who fought in the Great War.”
Andrew and Paul will start their walk on May 3rd and end on May 8th. Their website is www.walkingthefront.com